LeBron James' "Cleveland Hustles" Show Airs on CNBC
Cleveland will once again be in the national spotlight tonight with the series premiere of CNBC's "Cleveland Hustles."
The show's executive producer LeBron James is lending his star power to help local small businesses grow into nation-wide companies. ideastream's Darrielle Snipes visited one of the stores that's also helping to revitalize the Gordon Square neighborhood.
While the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James was off winning the city a national championship, his company was busy helping local entrepreneurs.
James picked four local established business owners to each chose an emerging entrepreneur. They then invest at least $200,000 into the company as well as their time and expertise. Then, the businesses have 90 days to set up a store front in the Gordon Square Neighborhood on Cleveland's near west side.
Host Bonin Bough is a former top executive for companies like Kraft and PepsiCo. He also lends his expertise.
“We didn't know what we were doing,” said Bough “This wasn't just about building a show. It was really about building a model for economic revitalization…cameras just happen to be rolling.”
Six months ago, Old City Soda was a one-man operation. Now owner Mike Gulley has 13 employees and is in the process of opening a shop on Detroit Ave. He plans to increase production of his handcrafted sodas and sell them statewide.
“It is life changing” said Gulley. “This has been an opportunity that both my fiancé and I look at as stressful and at times unbearably tough and hard, but it will give us long term stability wouldn't have had if the show didn't come around.”
Gulley hopes to take his business nationwide with help from his investor, who will be around to mentor the business long after "Cleveland Hustles’" 8 episodes are over.